Trump, The Taoiseach and Caitríona Perry

Trump Taoiseach leo phonecall Caitriona Perry
RTE Washington Correspondent, Catriona Perry. Photo:

RTÉ’s Washington Correspondent Caitríona Perry hit headlines around the world this week after an unexpected encounter with US President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump was on the phone to newly-elected Taoiseach Leo Varadkar when he explained that he was surrounded by the “beautiful Irish press”.

He then asked Ms Perry to come over and told Mr Varadkar that she has “a nice smile on her face so I bet she treats you well”.

The reporter told RTÉ that she didn’t even expect to get inside the Oval Office, let alone be singled out by the man who sits behind its desk.

“One minute we were outside the window and the next minute I’m meeting the President of the United States,” she said.

“Usually we would shoot from outside the window of the White House and that’s what we were expecting today, but instead we were invited inside to witness the President’s call to the Taoiseach.

“When we went in he was already on the phone but I managed to catch his eye and he called me over.”

The call, which lasted from ten to fifteen minutes, was “wide-ranging” according to a spokesperson for Mr Varadkar.

A visit by Mr Trump to Ireland was not discussed but the Taoiseach was invited over to the States for the St Patrick’s Day celebrations next year.

The spokesperson said that the Taoiseach had raised the issue of the “undocumented Irish” as well as climate change and trade, while the US President was keen to discuss the peace process and the situation regarding the Irish border post-Brexit.

During their conversation, Mr Trump congratulated his Irish counterpart on his election as Fine Gael leader and subsequently Irish Prime Minister, calling it a “great victory”.

“We have so many people from Ireland in this country – I know so many of them, I feel I know all of them,” he said.

“But I just wanted to congratulate you, that was a great victory that you had.”

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